MPM Studio, which is short for “Men’s Private Matter,” does not allow girlfriends. The hair removal studio, which specializes in sugaring, a gentler alternative to waxing, is strictly men’s only. It is also, MPM owner Oskar Morett insists, not a spa. You get in, rip off some hair, and get out—with the majority of MPM’s clientele opting for a “Boyzillian” package, which is more or less what you think it is. “We see around 600, 700 guys a month,” Morett says. “A lot of balls and cracks.”
There is no shortage of ways to groom our body hair, from shaving to waxing to threading to lasers. But all those options can also make it challenging to know where to begin—what hair to remove and how much?—particularly for men, who tend to be both more hirsute and less experienced in body grooming. Manscaping isn’t the automatic punchline it once was, with more and more men interested in attending to their body hair.
Starting out on a manscaping journey isn’t necessarily a matter of what hair to remove, but why. And removing body hair is not always about aesthetics. “Sometimes too much hair creates excess sweating. Excess sweating can create certain skin irritations or skin fungus. So keeping the area clean makes things much easier to manage,” says Chris Karavolas, owner of Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal. When the salon first opened 20 years ago, men represented only 10 percent of their clientele, but now make up around 40 percent.
But vanity is a perfectly good reason to seek hair removal, and Morett says the male clientele varies based on who they’re looking to impress or attract. “The guys who do the back, they do it because they feel they have to. They don’t want to be that person on the beach or at the pool,” he says. Those who go bare on chest, arms or legs are often more interested in showing off their physique. “The guys who do the butt and the private area, the main reason is the feel,” he adds. But aesthetics matter here too, of course: “It makes the dick look bigger.”
For short-term, immediate results, there’s always trimming and shaving, with a range of trimmers and razors for the at-home aesthetician. Those who get tired of shaving or waxing on a regular basis may want to eventually graduate to lasers, which can either entirely remove the hair or just permanently reduce the amount of hair that grows in a given area. But doing so requires a large investment of time and money: a full round of laser treatment can take nine months to a year and up to $16,000, depending on the treatment, Karavolas says. “With trimming, there is no pain and it’s very fast—but you have to do it like every two weeks. The sugar you do every six weeks. The laser? Once you’re done, you’re good,” says Morett.
There’s also the pain factor to consider, as anyone who’s seen The 40-Year Old Virgin knows. Fortunately even more aggressive forms of removal are increasingly less painful; sugaring has risen in popularity as an alternative to waxing specifically because it is both gentler and causes less irritation, while newer models of hair removal lasers are quicker, more effective and include cooling technology to reduce pain.